Patients with chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and kidney transplants rely on prescription drugs to manage their kidney disease and comorbidities. Patients need access to medically-appropriate prescription drugs that are effective and right for their individual situation, and they must be able to afford them. As Congress and the administration explore policies to address the rising cost of prescription drugs, AKF has the following principles to guide our support:
- Protect patient access to medically-appropriate treatments – AKF supports efforts that encourage the introduction and availability of generic prescription drugs and biosimilars, and many of the drugs prescribed to kidney patients are generics. However, there need to be effective safeguards in place to ensure that patients for whom generic substitution is not medically appropriate still have access to branded drugs that are part of their stable drug regimen. AKF also supports maintaining patient access to prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D program as it relates to the six categories and classes of drugs of clinical concern (the six protected classes), which includes immunosuppressive drugs for treatment of transplant rejection. We oppose policy proposals that create additional barriers to access for immunosuppressive and other drugs in the protected classes, which could disrupt a transplant patient’s stable drug regimen and jeopardize their health.
- Lower prescription drug costs and patient out-of-pocket costs – Patients with chronic conditions who rely on prescription drugs are particularly affected by high drug list prices because their cost-sharing obligations are tied to the list price, instead of the lower net price negotiated between drug companies and pharmacy benefit managers. AKF supports policy proposals that would result in lower drug costs and lower out-of-pocket costs for patients. We also support policies that protect a patient’s ability to use drug copay coupons, discount cards, charitable assistance and other assistance to afford needed medications, and to have that assistance count towards their annual deductible and out-of-pocket spending cap.